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NatRoad Chair labels Australia’s most dangerous road freight route

The NatRoad Chair is calling on the industry to focus on driver competency standards to ensure the dangerous freight route sees less heavy vehicle incidents

In a message to National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) members in the association newsletter, Chair Paul Fellows has called for an industry discussion on driver competency while revealing Australia’s “most dangerous road freight route”.

The reveal comes after Fellows chatted to many members about which road is most dangerous at the recent NatRoad Industry Forum in Mount Gambier.

The consensus was that the Eyre Highway was the current most dangerous route in the nation.

“The tragic death of three truck drivers in a smash near Yalata on April 4 focused national attention on the Eyre Highway, and I won’t speculate on the cause, which is a matter for the South Australian Coroner,” Fellows says.

“I will say that the 1200km road linking Western Australia to the rest of the country has been carrying an enormous volume of freight since floods temporarily closed the Trans-Australian Railway line in March.

“There have been reports of some operators being offered lucrative sums to haul loads and meet urgent deadlines with some new and inexperienced drivers suddenly finding themselves behind the wheel.”

Fellows says that while the rail line has re-opened and the backlog is subsiding, the “behaviour of some inexperienced drivers” is a problem “that won’t go away”.

The incidents have led the NatRoad Chair to call for an urgent industry conversation about driver competency.

“NatRoad has been calling for a move to national and improved standards for years. Time spent on a particular class of licence should no longer be the determinant of progression, and drivers coming from other countries should have to meet our standards,” Fellows says.

“With the driver shortage continuing to bite, now is the time for regulators to stop navel-gazing and act urgently.”

Fellows is calling on drivers to report bad behaviour out on the roads to keep people safe.

“If you see dangerous driver behaviour, the Heavy Vehicle Confidential Reporting Line 1800 931 785 is a secure, national and confidential telephone service to report safety issues.  Calling police is an option if there’s a risk to life,” he says.

“Dobbing may not sit comfortably with some, but it could be your life or that of a friend or workmate that you save.”

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